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XIII International Documentary Film Festival Flahertiana, 2013

The Reluctant Revolutionary
"The Reluctant Revolutionary" (Sean McAlister)

Flahertiana is an international documentary film festival which, in the words of its director Pavel Pechenkin, is "small but packs a punch". Now in its thirteenth year it, too, is feeling the effects of the economic downturn, but still enjoys good health, thanks to a dedicated and skilful organization by a group of people who manage to stay clear of the red tape that is so often the ball and chain that besets planet Russia.

Indeed, it is the flagship event of the Perm cinematheque (PermKino) and its mission to foster cinema culture all year long, the essence of which emerges naturally in Flahertiana. It permeates the atmosphere surrounding the event, and in the cinematheque venues and cinemas, making success undeniable. The screenings are sold out, and the culturally informed audience is the surest guarantee of the festival's success. The attention and competence demonstrated by the viewers, and the pertinence of the many points raised by them, bear witness to the passion for documentary cinema which, in Russia, is a long-standing tradition.

Naturally, international competition lies at the heart of Flahertiana. This year saw the presentation of fifteen documentaries, none of which have been screened in Russia before, and one, the Israeli Handa Handa 4 (Handa Handa 4), had its world première here. The only restriction, namely that the Russian premier screening takes place in Perm, allows documentaries from leading film festivals in Europe and elsewhere to be submitted for presentation. Outstanding in this year's selection were Wawumba by Jeroen Van Velzen from the Netherlands, Ireland's The Reluctant Revolutionary by Sean McAlister, and, from Iran Trucker and the fox by Arash Lahooti.

It is no wonder that the award for best film went to Trucker and the Fox while the FIPRESCI prize went to The Reluctant Revolutionary.

In addition to the international program, the festival also featured a section dedicated to Russian documentaries which highlighted how the technical and artistic standards have remained high over the years, despite the diversity of styles and the numerous retrospectives, including a tribute to the late Russian director Anatoly Baluev who was born in the vicinity of Perm. Furthermore, the festival also hosted a number of seminars and workshops on both technique and artistry aimed principally at young people for whom PermKino is a first step towards documentary cinema. It was significant that these were held by directors of similar festivals, such as Luciano Barisone (Visions du reel, Switzerland) and Agneta Mogren (Tempo documentary Festival, Sweden) as well as by directors Koen Suidgeest, Alexey Pogrebnoy and Marianna Kaat. (Andrea Martini)

XIII International Documentary Film Festival Flahertiana (Perm, Russia, October 6-13, 2013). FIPRESCI jury: Anjelika Artyukh (Russia), Anne Brunswic (France), Andrea Martini (Italy). FIPRESCI prize: The Reluctant Revolutionary (UK/Ireland, 2012, 70min) directed by Sean McAlister. Print source: Underground Films (47 Herbert Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland), web:, e-mail: Motivation: the FIPRESCI prize goes to The Reluctant Revolutionary for being an astonishing portrait of Yemen as the revolution unfolds, told through the experience of an ordinary men, offering intense reasons of reflection — loss, fury, hope and uncertainty about the way taken — common to all revolutionary roads.


Documentaries or Low-Budget Fiction? According to Andrea Martini for some time now, documentary films are no longer kept in a separate world as children of a lesser God. Perhaps, though, their passport to glamour, or at least to acceptance within the fold of major cinema, has been too costly, a price as yet unclear but which, in the long run, could undermine the basic tenets of the genre. arrow.
Documentary Cinema Better Brings Young Generations Into Reality. The Flahertiana International Documentary Film festival in Perm is already 13 years old. The festival director Pavel Petchenkin summarize its past. By Anne Brunswic. arrow.
Revolution and Ethics of Documentary Film. Russian formalists, who reflected on the laws of cultural dynamics, noticed how "center" in culture can shift towards the "periphery", thus making the outskirts a new center. The city of Perm, with its Flahertiana, has become if not Russia's center of culture, certainly the center of documentaries. Anjelika Artyukh's impressions. arrow.



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Perm 2013

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